Trainer Jarrod Duncan, 39, was found dead in his dorm room Wednesday morning at Northfield Park. Dave Bianconi, Northfield's director of racing, said Duncan's death appears to be of natural causes and no foul play is indicated.
Bianconi said Duncan told friends Tuesday night that he was not feeling well and returned to his room. He received and answered a text message at 7:19 a.m. on Wednesday that he still wasn't feeling well. When later calls were not returned, friends went to check on him and discovered his body.
"I can't believe it. It is really, really hard to even grasp that this has happened," said Bianconi. "He was a helluva guy, just a great guy, and he will be missed by his many friends."
In a Facebook posting, driver Aaron Merriman wrote: "Don't even know how to say it...I'll miss my Stirdog Jarrod Duncan. I'm dedicating my day n many more to u. We will drink to and with u one day. Love u brother always."
A native of Indiana, Duncan raced in his home state as well as Northfield Park. He began training Standardbreds on a full-time basis in 2005, and had 254 career wins and $1.28 million in purse earnings. At the current Northfield Park meet he had four winners in 10 starts.